Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Spotty Blog Interview: In Which The Prodigal Sons Are Interviewed

Introduction: So, at the beginning of the summer, I talked a bit about how once a broadcaster bites radio, radio has a tendency to bite back, which is what inspired me to volunteer at WRKC.

I also talked about working at the Revolution 101.1 as a pro in the beforetimes. I had the privilege of working with a lot of interesting folks at that sweet, if underpaid, gig. (Hey, I was in my twenties. Free cd's, free shows, free t-shirts? That's a win all around.)

It seems that I am not the only one to yearn for those halcyon days.

Enter The Prodigal Sons podcast, featuring Naked Jared Lanham, Ian Chunky-pants Goff, and Brian Edsell.

(Brian, how did you not get some tortured nickname from me? How did you emerge unscathed? TELL ME WHAT NEFARIOUS MAGIC THIS IS!?!)

These guys were once in charge of The Revolution's morning show. As can sometimes happen in broadcasting, a lot of the best conversations they had as a morning show team happened when the microphone was off, while the dulcet tones of Alice In Chains gently woke our listeners.

The Prodigal Sons podcast is that team reunited, 17 years later, and they get to talk about all the stuff they didn't talk about on the air, f-bombs included.

You can listen here:  http://prodigalsonspodcast.com/

And you can read what happens when the evening jock (that would be me) interviews the morning crew below.

*note: Who answers the question will be designated by a first initial. J, I, B.

The Interview:

Q) So, what got you interested in radio?

J:  I'm actually kind of embarrassed to say what got me interested in radio. But dammit, I stand by this, Pump up the Volume is a fucking awesome movie! I was 15 years old, and in 1990 you didn't get cooler then Christian Slater. I think by 91' you could get cooler then that.

B: I used to listen to the radio when I was a kid and I always loved the DJs and wondered what it would be like to be in broadcasting. My sense got the better of me and I figured I could never be in the top 1% who could make a decent living in entertainment and I followed another path. Wasn't until I was forced to reevaluate my options in college that I went back to broadcasting. I had listened/watched Stern for a number of years off and on and he was pretty much the pinnacle of broadcasting for me. I changed my major from Architectural Engineering to Broadcast Journalism (heaps of overlap in those two careers) and in my Sr. year of college I finally decided to take the leap into radio. That's where Jared, Ian and I all met. 101.1 The Revolution!

I: For the longest time it was the best source of free music.
Q) Tell us about Prodigal Sons. How did it come together and what are your plans for the podcast?

J: Damn, this answer can get wordy! It literally is a podcast 16 years in the making, with a 15 year smoke break in the middle! Back in the day Brian, Ian, and I did a short lived radio morning show. After we got fired we all still remained friends, even though we kind of spread out over the tri-state area. I had started another podcast a few years ago, that lasted about a year, but turned into a total cluster fuck by the 2nd episode. Brian had recently started a his own podcast with a friend of his, and asked me what I thought. After listening to me run at the mouth, he promptly asked me what I would do. I believe my exact response was "Mother fucker, I got a lot of shit I want to talk about!". He suggested we narrow it down to one subject. We chose to go with a Pop-Culture-Geekdom kinda of vibe, since it was a subject we both loved. After the first technical test, we both had the idea of bringing Ian and making it a full reunion!

After that lengthy story, the plan for the podcast is pretty simple. Talk at length about bullshit nobody really cares about!

B: I do another blog and podcast (Dadstractions.com) and Jared used to be involved with a podcast (I think it was called, "Who Cares What You Think"). Jared and I were talking one day and speculated that it might be fun to finally do a podcast together, umpteen years after we did radio together. We then contacted Ian and the rest is pod history. We plan to bring our golden voices to the airwaves once again because the people demanded it! Also: nerd talk.

I: Prodigal sons podcast is the brainchild of Jared. It is an attempt to explore some subjects that interest us, while recapturing some of the great dynamic from our radio morning show.
Q) Super-heroes or Super-freaks?

J: Super-freaks....but only because my pervert side always wins out over my nerd side.

B: Heroes, definitely.

I: Super Freaks. Anyone with that much power would likely become morally devoid and incapable of heroic behavior.
Q) We used to be on a modern-rock radio station together. What passes as ear-candy for you these days?

J:  I'm digging on Silversun Pickups, Of Monsters and Men, The Naked and Famous....I am truly out of the loop these days when it comes to good music!

B: Still like Pearl Jam but I'm also listening to Black Keys, Foster the People, Kaiser Chiefs, Mumford and Sons, Alex Clare, Silversun Pickups, Barenaked Ladies and the Foo Fighters.

I: Top 40 pop music. I enjoy Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus a lot more than I should.
Q) Comic books or graphic novels?

J: In the end I prefer a graphic novel, because I have no patience for waiting. I blame Netflix for this! Bu there is something to be said for having a story unfold slowly and knowing others are doing it with you.

B: I enjoy the serialization of the comic book and the wait between issues.

I: I find equal merit in both.
Q) Star Wars or Star Trek?

J: Star Trek. Star Wars has cartoon rabbits in it now.

B: I enjoy both equally.  Really, it is possible!

I: Star Wars
Q) So, the three of you seem to be really into comics and science fiction. Have you ever attempted to write or make your own? I'm also curious to know if you've ever engaged in cosplay. Are there pictures?

J: I got a million great stories in my head! But I'm too lazy to write, so forever in my mind they shall stay! As for cosplay, luckily I missed the boat on that. Not that I don't enjoy seeing other people dress up! But I don't need anyone looking over at me and saying "Are you supposed to be a fat, balding, retired Jedi?" No thank you!

B: I have never engaged in cosplay but I have outlines for at least a few books/movies. (Un?)fortunately, they are almost all zombie/infection related and I think the zombies' time in the zeitgeist is soon drawing to a close. I did make a short film for my place of business. Of course, I found a way to make it about zombies.

I: I have never tried to make my own. I think that is a part of why I am drawn to it. It exceeds my own level of creativity and I envy people how can bring their imaginations to life.
I have engaged in cosplay. At the time it was called live action role playing. I am confident that pictures exist somewhere, but I am not sure where.
Q) So it's been 17 years since you've been broadcasters together. What have you been doing since then? What was it like to reunite for the podcast?

J: I can't speak for those two fools, but I've bounced around a lot doing various things, as of right now I'm bartending and a real estate agent.....believe it or not! As for reuniting, after all that time, I don't think we skipped a beat. It was like we were on the air the day before.

B: After college I moved out to NYC and lived with Jared for about a year. It was very interesting to put it mildly. Since then I've worked for the same company for almost 15 years and in 2007 my family and I moved out to Ohio because my job moved there. I'm married with two kids.
We've all kept in touch throughout the years but the podcast gives us an opportunity to get together once a week and kibitz, both about new developments and the good ol' days. The same chemistry is intact from our brief shining moment on the airwaves.
I: I was a drunken degenerate for quite a number of years after my broadcasting days. Although recently I have sobered up, gotten married, finished college, and grind it out  9 to 5.

Reuniting for the show has been great. Thing have fallen back into place with ease and we are getting better with every show.

Q) Who are your broadcasting heroes?

J: Howard Stern obviously and....ummm....are there other people in broadcasting? Ummmm Cousin Bruce? No wait....Jed the Fish, I hate that guy! What was the question again?

B: Stern. That's pretty much it. I enjoyed Opie and Anthony for a few years too.

I: Edward R Murrow and Jim Nantz.

Q) What's upcoming in geek/pop culture that you are most looking forward to?

J: I am mildly curious about the new Star Wars movies coming out. I've been burned already so I'm not getting my hopes up. Wait scratch that, I've been burned so many times, I'm not looking forward to anything......wait....scratch that....I'm looking forward to the Justin Beiber implosion, does that count?

B: As well as being a movie/TV/gaming nerd, I'm really into technology.  The innovations we have seen in personal communication have been amazing and I'm looking forward to all the future innovations that will change the way we interact on a daily basis.

I: The Justice League Movie. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Reggie's Round Up: Things To Distract You From Planning Halloween

It's October, you guys. OCTOBER! HALLOWEENTIMES! Until today, I did not know what I was going to be for Halloween.

I now know. And knowledge is good.

We shall speak more of the Halloweentimes later.

Here are my thoughts on some of the things that kept me distracted from obsessing about the Halloweentimes...

Lauren Beukes' The Shining Girls

What It Is: A novel listed as belonging to the Horror genre which is an Inadequate Description of what is contained therein. Harper Curtis is a serial killer fixated on female victims who shine. Their shine comes from within and is so bright that the glow transcends time and space, or at least it does as far as Curtis is concerned. That's right, TIME-TRAVELLING SERIAL KILLER!

Why It Is Awesome: Did I mention that there is a TIME-TRAVELLING SERIAL KILLER? That, as a storytelling concept is amazing all on its own. Where this book really shines (Shut up. I know. I can't help it.) is in the execution of this particular idea. Every character sparkles from the second they are introduced on the page.

We meet Mister Slaughter-britches, ie: Harper Curtis in 1929 and events conspire to lead him to a house which enables him to criss-cross time so that he can commit gruesome murders ranging from his own time-line to 1993. One of his intended victims, Kirby Mazrachi, survives his attack and once physically recovered, decides to solve her own unsolved crime. Kirby is angry, funny, likable, punk-rawk, sweet, vulnerable and kick-ass all at once.

With a serial killer at the center of a book, one can always expect a high body count. What I did not expect was how gracefully each death is handled by the author. Through the gore and time-travel, Lauren Beukes manages to make the lives of each intended victim matter to the reader, making the horror of the crime aspects of this story all the more of a gut punch. Horror with heart and meaning is delivered from within these pages. Not only are the victims fully developed with lives and wants and obligations and needs and thoughts and emotions, the readers also get a sense of how community is affected by their loss. This is done deftly, creeping up into the story as part of the landscape, which makes this horror tale a particularly strong indictment of violence.

There is more here than gleaming guts and the marvels of time-travel. Elements of historical fiction are, as a matter of course, found throughout the novel, so that pigeonholing this work of fiction into one genre does the book a huge disservice, IMHO.

It's brilliant.

Haim's Days Are Gone

What It Is: An album by three sisters, soon to enter pop maven-hood.

Why It Might Be Awesome: Okay, so I can't say it's totally awesome. But I am including it in the Round Up because it is a Thing of Interest and I really want to like this because, dude, rock-n-roll sisters. And a story evocative of the band Heart piques my interest, even if Haim sounds absolutely nothing like Heart.

This is one of those bands that sort of might be genius or they might be ...um... something else. Which means, of course, that they are probably genius.

It is undeniably POP. Folks are saying otherwise, but it is pop.

Saying it is pop does not mean it is bad... just. You know. Call it what it is.

The album Days Are Gone is extraordinarily polished. Some are saying they sound like Fleetwood Mac. I can hear some of that, in the vocals, which are at turns angelic and sultry-silky in the way of Christine McVie, but musically it sounds a bit like a mash-up of 80's pop and some late 70's pop with 90's sensibilities and tomorrow's musical engineering tech. (There's that word again - pop. It seems I can't stress the pop description enough. Pop. POP.) If I were to draw a comparison to other pop-icons from the 70s, though, I would say that Haim sounds and feels more like a modern, female version of the Bee Gees. Listen to the rhythm guitar.

But then, just when you think you've figured it out, their sound changes just enough to keep you guessing. They dance right up to edginess and slip back into polish, often within the same song, like an aural post-modern collage. So we, the listening public keep looking for Something That Has Come Before on which to hang an appropriate comparison that will stick, but there are so many varying elements of Things That Have Come Before that all comparisons are bound to be slippery.

That is what makes Haim impressive.

One minute they sound like the Eagles, the next they sound like T'Pau (yeah, I went there) and neither of those things really work, so that ultimately, they sound like themselves.

However, I shall offer two videos to compare... Pretty much just the first few measures of each song works in comparison to the other, but I leave this here as an example about what I mean re: Haim and slippery comparisons.